Strength and Mystery
© Sylvia Brallier
In the attitude of silence, the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.
— Mahatma Gandhi
This is the time during the Wheel of the Year when many traditions have encouraged personal discipline, sacred renunciation, and the giving up of special luxuries. This, in turn, helps us to make room and clear the way for the beauty and re-emergence of life, when Spring comes.
One such method is the practice of fasting. As I’ve described, many Christians choose to fast to a degree during the six weeks of Lent, giving up sweets, or meat, coffee, or other foods they especially enjoy. But many spiritual paths have found value in certain kinds of fasting.
The Lakota people have used fasting as an important component of vision questing for generations. In her classic work, Buffalo Woman Comes Singing, Brooke Medicine Eagle writes that when we fast we create a vacuum in the left-brained part of our consciousness. “By our very nature,” she notes, “something else will come in to fill that space.” For Brooke, this vacuum is then filled with the gifts of the right brain, such as dreams, visions, clairvoyance, astral travel and revelation.
“The fast,” she writes, “seems to work the same way with all people. It is a brilliant tool for opening ourselves to the Great Mystery and to the Source of Life within our own being.” In discussing how to fast, Brooke Medicine Eagle cautions that we not do so “as a punishment or a sacrifice, but as a joyful way to call upon another part of yourself, a way to awaken to Spirit’s voice within you.”
Although you can fast by simply skipping food during an ordinary day, Brooke recommends that fasting is such a special, sacred practice, you will have better results by taking the day off, going to a beautiful spot in nature and creating sacred space.
She points out that, “Whatever holes in your life you fill with food — or anything else you’ve included on your fast — will become very obvious when you begin to do without them.”
We’ll explore some other ideas for how to Spring Clean our energy, body, and spirit next week, all the while enjoying our magical journey to the land of Grace!